Tourette syndrome (TS) is in a class of neuropsychiatric disorders referred to as """"""""tic disorders"""""""" which are characterized by involuntary, often repetitive behaviors that can be disruptive, inappropriate, and self-injurious. While recent work in the pathophysiology [1] and functional imaging [2] has provided new knowledge into the neural circuitry of TS, there remains a formidable knowledge gap in understanding the activity of single neurons, neuronal populations, and local field potentials that may be related to human tic generation. The goal of this project is to accelerate of the characterization of human physiology in patients with TS through the utilization of microelectrode based physiological techniques that can be coupled to time-synchronized recordings of tic phenomenology/appearance. This procedure of coupling the high-resolution neuronal recordings with behavior is not common in TS because of both the lack of availability to intracranial recordings in TS patients and also expertise to perform such work. Accessing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) patients through this grant will offer a unique opportunity to quantify the neural representation of tics. Our interdisciplinary team has demonstrated feasibility and has particular expertise in neural coding, novel neural/behavioral experimental design, neurology of TS, and DBS surgery for TS (currently the only center in the US with a FDA IDE to perform TS DBS).

Public Health Relevance

This grant will increase the tempo of research into the physiology underpinning Tourette syndrome. To date, there are very few publications that have studied the fundamental firing properties of neurons associated with the generation of human tics. Understanding the abnormal brain signals that may lead to tics will aid in the facilitation of novel implantable brain devices to address medication resistant Tourette Syndrome.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Neural Basis of Psychopathology, Addictions and Sleep Disorders Study Section (NPAS)
Program Officer
Gwinn, Katrina
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University of Miami Coral Gables
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
Coral Gables
United States
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Rossi, P Justin; Opri, Enrico; Shute, Jonathan B et al. (2016) Scheduled, intermittent stimulation of the thalamus reduces tics in Tourette syndrome. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 29:35-41
Gunduz, Aysegul; Okun, Michael S (2016) A Review and Update on Tourette Syndrome: Where Is the Field Headed? Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 16:37
Giugni, Juan C; Okun, Michael S (2014) Treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. Curr Opin Neurol 27:450-60
Nocera, Joe R; Stegemöller, Elizabeth L; Malaty, Irene A et al. (2013) Using the Timed Up & Go test in a clinical setting to predict falling in Parkinson's disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 94:1300-5
Okun, Michael S; Foote, Kelly D; Wu, Samuel S et al. (2013) A trial of scheduled deep brain stimulation for Tourette syndrome: moving away from continuous deep brain stimulation paradigms. JAMA Neurol 70:85-94
Maling, Nicholas; Hashemiyoon, Rowshanak; Foote, Kelly D et al. (2012) Increased thalamic gamma band activity correlates with symptom relief following deep brain stimulation in humans with Tourette's syndrome. PLoS One 7:e44215
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